UK and South Africa announce clean technology mineral partnership

The UK and South Africa have announced that they are establishing a new partnership aimed at responsible and sustainable exploration of minerals in South Africa for use in clean energy technologies.

The UK government announced this week that it will work with the Republic of South Africa to deepen cooperation on a number of mineral and energy projects, including through regular ministerial and technical dialogues between the South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (RSA) and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

South Africa is a leading producer of a raft of minerals used in clean technologies, including platinum, palladium and iridium used to produce hydrogen, and vanadium and manganese used in battery storage.

Demand for minerals used in clean technologies has been increasing in recent years, raising concerns about both the security of supply and the environmental impact of large-scale mining.

As such, under the new partnership, the UK and South Africa are committed to working together to promote responsible exploration, development, production and processing of minerals in South Africa. By working together, governments said they can help support investments in mineral exploration and production that meet stringent environmental standards, while expanding access to minerals essential to clean industrial and economic development and the global transition to clean energy.

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Promoting responsible mineral extraction will be central to the global transition to clean energy, they said, as well as ensuring the sustainability of the mining industry and supply chains through financing, high environmental, social and governance standards, health and safety, and construction. highly qualified workforce.

The countries said they want to collaborate on a range of clean technologies, including but not limited to battery storage, fuel cell technologies, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

“Working together, we hope to identify mutually beneficial projects and related initiatives,” they said in a statement.

In addition, they hope that the partnership will also encourage the participation of private sector companies in sustainable mining and support investment flows in this sector, which in turn could create and increase new clean jobs.

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Both countries said they will promote and support partnerships between UK and South African companies across the minerals and clean energy value chain to develop and strengthen business links for the benefit of both economies.

The announcement of the new partnership is part of a wider updated Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Republic of South Africa and the UK government focusing on cooperation in science, technology, research and innovation, which was unveiled earlier this week.

The new memorandum replaces and updates an earlier agreement called the Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific Cooperation signed by the countries in 1995.

In the new MoU, the two countries stated that they are “committed to expanding the scope of research and innovation cooperation, building a productive partnership for peaceful purposes and mutual benefit.”

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The news follows an official state visit by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who visited London for two days this week.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met President Ramaphosa to discuss the next stages of the partnership between the two countries, which also included the launch of the UK-South Africa Infrastructure Partnership, supporting South Africa’s economic growth through the development of critical infrastructure and offering greater access to the UK. companies for projects worth up to £5.37 billion over the next three years.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverley welcomed news of the visit and the new MoU, highlighting the opportunity to collectively explore green innovation.

“This week’s state visit, the first by His Majesty the King, is a great opportunity to celebrate our ties, but also allows us to drive greater growth, create even more opportunities for both British and South African businesses and continue to drive South Africa’s green energy transition,” he said.

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